Austrian-Era Wooden Water Pipes in Lviv

In 2013 when one Lviv’s main thoroughfares, Horodotska Street, was being renovated, the construction workers found wooden water pipes that dated from the early years of the Austrian Empire, making them well over 150 years old. These pipes were made by taking wood logs, digging out the core, and placing inside […]

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Lviv’s Ancient Wells and Fountains

Wells and fountains were both a practical and aesthetic part of Lviv’s landscape. Records and photographs reveal that there were indeed many of them all around the city, especially near churches and monasteries. In time, with the advent of new infrastructures, these once vital water access points became obsolete, and […]

Lost in a Sea of Cobblestones: Lviv’s Historical Manhole Covers & Storm Drains

To find traces of Lviv’s prewar past, one must not forget to look down from time to time. Indeed, below our feet are hiding hundreds of manhole and utility covers, which have been serving the city’s infrastructure since before the war. These Austrian- and Polish-era cast iron plates cover buried […]

Remnants of Coal Elevators

One of the remnants of Lviv’s coal infrastructure is the manually operated freight elevator. Coal would have been transported into the courtyards of buildings along tracks located in the entrance ways. Then from the courtyard the coal would have been hoisted up to each floor on an elevator. This would […]

Conscription Numbers: Lviv

Under the Austrian Empire (Galicia was established in 1772), buildings were given conscription numbers, which served as addresses until 1871. (See also examples of conscription numbers in other parts of the Austrian Empire: Vienna, Klosterneuburg, and Przemyśl.) “House numbers, also called house conscription numbers, had their origins with the Austrian imperial […]

Benchmarks in Lviv: How Elevation Was Measured in the Past

A benchmark is geographic point whose elevation has been measured and recorded to a high level of accuracy. The height of a benchmark is calculated relative to the heights of nearby benchmarks in a network extending from a fundamental benchmark (a point which records a height to extreme accuracy.) Benchmarks are used […]

Bomb Shelter Steel Covers in Vienna

In Vienna one can still find the covers to WWII civilian bomb shelters. Originally I thought these metal grates were either storm drains or vaults lights with missing glass, but I discovered that in fact they were covers for ventilation shafts and emergency exits. Across the territory of Nazi Germany […]

German-Era Bomb Shelter Signs in Lviv

During the Nazi-occupation of Lviv from 1941 to 1944, the Germans established bomb shelters in basements around the city. To this day we can still see some of the signage, namely, the letters “NA” and an arrow pointing to the shelter. According to one source, “NA” (short for “Notausgang”) marked […]

Guard Stones in Lviv

Guard stones are exterior architectural elements made of metal, stone, or concrete located at the corners of entranceways, carriage driveways, or gateways to protect walls from carriage wheel damage. Once an important element of the horse-drawn transportion infrastructure, guard stones have become largely obsolete as cars do not pose the […]

Stiles in the Carpathians

Stiles, or perelazy in Ukrainian, are structures that provide people with a way to easily pass over a fence while at the same time preventing farm animals from passing through. Stiles are found in the countryside around the world and come in all kinds of forms. In the Carpathians, they […]

Lviv’s Curious German-Language Watermark

In one of Lviv’s courtyards I stumbled across a curious sign pointing to a water level. My first thought was that it is a benchmark—a point of known elevation marked for the purpose of surveying. However, unlike the other prewar benchmarks that I have seen in Lviv—small metal plaques with […]